Hampton Roads’ seasonally adjusted non-farm civilian (payroll) employment declined for the third straight month, negating some recent employment gains in the region’s modest recovery. Employment declined by 1,400 jobs in May 2013, following a decline of 700 positions in April 2013. Employment in the region remains 3.5% below the prerecession peak, as compared to the U.S. employment which is only 0.5% below its prerecession peak, highlighting the difference in the national and regional economic recoveries. Employment in the Healthcare and the Scientific & Technical Services industries realized the strongest growth over the past month, while Retail Trade and Administrative & Waste Services weakened between April 2013 and May 2013.
The regional unemployment rate, generated by a survey of households in Hampton Roads, increased slightly from 5.81% to 5.93% in May 2013 (on a seasonally adjusted basis, unadjusted unemployment increased to 6.05%). This increase was driven by both an increase in regional labor force participation (+592) and a decrease in the number reporting that they had employment (-484). This is the first significant increase in the regional unemployment rate since September of 2011; however, monthly data releases can vary substantially, reducing the informative value of a singular data point.
The region’s unemployment rate remains significantly below the U.S. rate of 7.56% and above the statewide rate of 5.33%.